About Acratophorus

I am a rope stretched over the abyss.

Philosophy and combat sports

My friend The Mountain Stoic on the relationship between philosophy and the practice of warriors.

Mountain Stoic

“The art of life is more like the wrestler’s art than the dancer’s,in respect of this, that it should stand ready and firm to meet onsets which are sudden and unexpected.”

— Marcus, Meditations, Book VII


This weekend I am headed to Philadelphia to compete in the US Amateur Nationals Competition in Japanese Sumo Wrestling. I have been training in Sumo for a short six months, and competed in two regional competitions so far. Sumo is a bit more complicated than the American stereotype: there are 82 different winning moves, and more than a handful of moves which cause you to immediately lose. It is the successor to a Shintō ritual, a cosmological archetype of law vs chaos. The Way of Salt, is quite a thing to become familiar with.

Many ancient philosophers participated in or used as reference combat sports. Plato was a boxer, the Cynics and Antisthenes literally…

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Daduchos

Our world is dying.
The gates have fallen.
The home-front lost.
No more can we tell friend from foe.

Our leaders are well-heeled parasites.
We lift fools up high and give them crowns,
if only they entertain us with their foolishness.

We admire nothing more than the mimic,
the successful imposter.
For we all feel imposters now.

We hold firm our faith in nihilism.
We pray that life has no meaning,
for we cannot bear the thought
that we have squandered it.

We still want to believe in the good story:
the chosen people,
the one true savior,
the master race,
the classless society,
the singularity,
the light fantastic.

We bear aloft these idols.
We nail ourselves to these crosses.
The Gods look down and laugh, and weep.

With increasing frenzy the masses rush the edge.
They do not know why, but they love the feel of falling.
They have lost the taste for stillness.

Once men fought for glory, then God, then the abstract good.
What will they fight for now?
What has this world given them worth fighting for?

A world is the conquest of earth by heaven.
A world is made by fighting men carrying the banner of love.
A world is born in fire, ends in fire, is reborn in fire.

This world is dying.
Pick up your torch.

The Emerald Tablet with Commentary

Hermes3x

True, true, without doubt, certain:

The below is as the above, and the above as the below, to perfect the wonders of the One.

The Hermetic maxim, so often repeated but so seldom analyzed and understood. What is the ‘above’ and what the ‘below’? How are they ‘as’ each other, and what is this One so full of wonders? Let us start at the end and work backwards.

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Everything old is new again

( Note: This is it, the last of the gaming blog transfer posts. Probably originally written sometime between 2013 and 2014 — B)

It’s been a crazy year: two new jobs, a lay off, a move and a wedding to plan. Despite all this, I’ve been thinking a lot about gaming, I just haven’t been doing any. That’s a shame and, with the publication of 5th edition, it is officially time to stop pontificating and start doing. My initial plan is to read through the new PHB one chapter at a time, summarizing my interpretation of the rules here for my new campaign. That’s 11 chapters of fresh, just off the presses, DnD.

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Gaming Blog Transfer Complete

Well, I have officially shut down my long neglected gaming blog and transferred all the posts over here. Below was a post I made in 2013 that I’m re-posting for archival purposes. I have one more post (actually a series of posts) reviewing the latest edition of D&D that I’ll put up today as well. After that it’s on to new material.

Best wishes,

B

— begin archival re-post —

While I would like to strike with the proverbial iron still glowing, and I have plenty of material waiting to be posted, there will be no blog update today. My lady love has requested a trip to Disneyland for her birthday, and like any good knight-errant I cannot refuse her. Therefore I wish you all a pleasant day at work, for I have a date with a mouse.

fantasmic

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Lamentations on my OSR Introduction

My first retro-clone was James Raggi’s excellent and evocative Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

lamentations

I had been out of the hobby for several years and went through a game book purge in my mid-twenties, when I wanted to be taken “seriously”. Recently I started rebuilding my game library, picking up a copy of the infamous “Red Box” which was, for me as for so many others, a return to my starting place.

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